Italian Bean Soup

Italian Bean Soup

On this cold blustery day, I have several tantalizing choices about what to do with my time. When the weather outside is miserable, its soup time, and today I’m making an Italian bean soup for our lunch. I don’t usually post photos of what I fix for our lunch (we eat our big meal at breakfast or in the middle of the day), but this soup is so pretty, I couldn’t resist.

Yesterday,  I made my first Pad Tai, which actually looked like the photo in the newspaper, and amazingly tasted good. However, we ate it before I remembered to take a photo. Slowly, slowly, I am adding Asian style cookery to my repertoire.

So many spices and so many herbs and vegetables untried by me.  I absolutely love spices.  Mom used to give me her expired spice bottles, and I used them in the mud pies, I ‘baked’ in my playhouse.

Did I ever tell you about the playhouse Dad built for me and my sister?  One of the benefits of being the lumber broker, which he eventually became, was Dad always had piles of lumber from somewhere. He brought home planks and planks of the stuff.

Dad was quite the carpenter and made many items of furniture for our home. At the first house they owned, he turned a side porch into a dining area off our kitchen, and paneled the interior walls with solid pine.  At the second and last house they bought, he restored the oak flooring in the old *Antebellum* house, reconstructed the bathrooms, and repaired the double fireplace and rooms throughout the house.  I was his helper until I left home at barely 17.

Over the years and the many moves our family made, he used some of the rougher lumber to build several playhouses, the last one at the first house they owned, had running water. He also constructed a teeter-totter/merry-go-round, and a swing set with two swings, and a trapeze he made from wood blocks, pipe and chains.  With every move he disassembled the “playground’ equipment and then set it up set it up at next house, along with fencing to keep us kids and our dogs contained when we were younger.  At one point, we took some of his lumber stash and built a tree fort in the woods behind our house.

Michael and me with Grandpa Schmidley, 1950

Me with Thumper, Garandpa S. and Mike. The outdoor rabbit hutches Dad built are behind us.

I don’t know how I got here.  I was writing about soup, but I am easily distracted, as you see.

Oh yes choices.  I can read the Anne Cleeves mystery I am enjoying, a nice reading break having finished the 600-page Empire of Cotton, or I can crochet, or I can write a post. As you see, I am doing the latter.  I also have work on my massive tree and several puzzles calling to me.  All selfish enterprises no doubt, but what the hey, that’s what being older and past your sell-buy date is about.  After a lifetime of ‘doing for others, it’s time for some self-indulgence.

 I check periodically to see if I am feeling guilty.  No, not yet.

*Antebellum*  Latin for “Before the War.”  Although this was after WWII, in the South this expression meant before the ‘War Between the States.’     

24 thoughts on “Choices

  1. I love following your wandering mind. Mine does that; I just wish I could write about it so entertainingly. HOnestly, your grandfather looks a bit like mine did — I think there was a sort of look for older men back in the day (and in this picture and as I am imagining my granddad, I am sure they weren’t as old as I am now…. but it seemed like there was more of a difference between generations back then, appearance wise (besides the wrinkles I mean). My grandmother dressed different from my mother and when I was wearing pedal-pushers, my mother wouldn’t have been caught dead (even when cleaning house) in pants. Now we all wear jeans. Albeit that my granddaughter’s fit below her belly button and mine better not!

    Oh I wanted to mention your comment on my blog about the newly proposed Alaska wilderness; I think I’m hoping it goes through. This would be right around where we were this summer, when we got as far as the Arctic Ocean. There are so many animals and birds that need that area to survive and I’m sure the drilling isn’t doing them any good. Also I don’t think the oil we get from up there helps our country any — like from the new Keystone (if it ever goes through) I think all of that oil would goes overseas. But a lot of people will undoubtedly lose jobs if they close down the Arctic drilling; that is always the bad side. There are never any areas that are not gray in this world.


  2. Your distractions are very much like mine as so many times my mind connects to some incident that may seem quite unrelated to others. I enjoy such mental meandering but if I verbalized it, would drive my husband crazy.

    Cold weather is a perfect time to make soup as I enjoyed doing when I lived in freezing temps & snow country — enjoyed the occasions when snowed-in. Pictures of your soup trigger my salivary glands.

    Pop was a handyman, accomplished carpenter & rescued antique painted wood furniture he refinished to uncover beautifully grained natural woods including cherry, maple, walnut & other + he had more skills. Recall his constructing built-in dining room items in a lake cottage where we lived for a few years in the south. My husband was a reluctant handyman & did not enjoy such tasks. He always said he’d rather play a dance job& hire someone to do whatever the work that was needed. I enjoyed foolin’ with wood — refinished antique Cherry drop leaf table, made a mitre box & then frames for large cork back bulletin boards I hung in children’s bedrooms, made a large.circular patio table — then we moved & I did no more — went back to Univ grad school midlife to enter current profession. Well, you triggered some memories.


  3. The soup looks beautiful and delicious. I also love making soups on cold wintery days. Although I like to cook, Pad Thai is not a favorite of mine.


  4. Great looking soup, especially as I look out the window tight now. As I have told you before, I wasn’t blessed with the talent to build things. The only thing I have ever made is a notebook with the phone numbers of all the handymen in the area.


  5. Gosh your dad sounds wonderful. Wish I had married a man who was handy in building and rebuilding things. Alas, I didn’t. Terry can fix a few things, but build something? Nope, not happening.

    I wrote a post on the cabbage soup, but like most of my cooking, there is no recipe. Just what I threw in the pot. Just like I wish I had a handier husband, I wish I had a prep cook in my kitchen.


  6. It would be great to have a carpenter in the house. (I know, b/c we do not have one). But it’s even better to have a soup maker (I know, because we do have one of those!) P.S. Tthat soup looks scrumptious!


  7. I enjoy your distractions Dianne, they are always so interesting. Loved the look of your soup and the sound of your Pad Thai. My Dad was also a hobby carpenter and made many pieces for the home, and also made rabbit hutches for our back yard. We had lots of rabbits and there were quite a few of them. The photo with your grandfather was lovely!


    • Thanks Denise. You are too kind. My brother Mike and I had two pet rabbits given us by Uncle Sylvester who raised them as food for his seven children. I was shocked the first time I saw Uncle Sy kill a rabbit by whopping his head on a heavy door. Later, my first husband hunted rabbits and brought the ones he killed home for me to cook.

      Hannah had a pet indoor bunny for many years until she left for college and he went to live with a friend.


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